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Friday, January 30, 2004
Smith, Balkman to sit out one game

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Corey Smith of Vanderbilt and Renaldo Balkman of South Carolina were suspended for one game by the Southeastern Conference on Friday for fighting during a game.

Balkman hit Smith in the first half of South Carolina's 57-55 win Wednesday. Balkman was ejected for a flagrant foul, while Smith was ejected because he threw Balkman to the ground and started hitting him.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive found Balkman committed "a flagrant, unsportsmanlike act." Smith's suspension was automatic because he was ejected for fighting.

Balkman will miss South Carolina's game against Mississippi on Saturday, and Smith will miss Vanderbilt's game against Kentucky on Saturday.

South Carolina coach Dave Odom said in the tapes he has viewed it is not clear Balkman hit Smith.

"You can't see any contact with the hand, but you can see the hand go up," Odom said. "But you can't see contact.

"It was very clear the SEC commissioner wanted the right thing for all parties and I support his decision. I will support it, but I did tell him I would state publicly I don't agree with it."

The league did not take any action against Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings, who after the game suggested that his team might take revenge on Balkman the next time the two teams play, which will be Feb. 14 in Columbia.

"If somebody's going to hit you in the mouth, you need to wait a little while until you get a chance to knock some of their teeth out," Stallings said. "But you don't need to do it right then. But I'd be worried about his teeth in the next game if that's what happened."

Stallings issued a statement Thursday saying he regretted his postgame comments.